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I hope we all paid attention to the settlement between parents of Sandy Hook victims and Remington. It is important to note what the settlement was NOT premised on. And it is vitally important to read why Remington was held accountable and legally liable.

You’re going to hear a lot of claptrap garbage about how this settlement is an attack on the Second Amendment. And, of course, low information gun nuts will eat it up, because they want to cast EVERYTHING as an attack on the Second Amendment.

Let’s get this straight right now. I said gun nuts.  Not responsible gun owners. They are not the same thing.

And that actually is the distinction that was drawn in the settlement.

Nobody attacked Remington’s right to make and sell guns. Nobody. The guns were not the issue.

Remington was busted for the cynical, manipulative and irresponsible way the company MARKETED its Bushmaster AR-15. The marketing plan and messaging glorified violence and emphasized the weapon’s slaughtering capacity, and, frankly, could rightly be accused of appealing to the unstable.

Essentially, the theme was, “Hey, if you’re thinking about shooting up a school (not that we recommend it), we’re your guys! Do it right, at Remington.”

The premise of this settlement underscores my long-held position.

If somebody wants to tell me that guns, per se, are not the problem, I will listen attentively and in many ways will largely agree.

The problem is a gun-worshiping society and culture that thinks guns are the solution to every problem. I said “gun-worshiping society.” Because that’s what we are. And we are unique among all the nations in the world in holding that mindset.

It’s like the way that Bible passage is frequently misquoted as “Money is the root of all evil.”

No, its “LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”

Same with guns.

“Drought” may now not be a strong enough word to describe conditions in the American West.

Just as “idiots” may now be insufficient to describe climate change deniers.

Both the judge and jury got it right in throwing out Palin’s lawsuit and finding The New York Times not guilty of defaming her in the first place, respectively.

They got it right under the law.

The Founding Fathers wanted to protect political free speech above all other forms of speech. So they set the bar sky-high for a conviction involving “defamation” of a public official.

Here’s the way it works, under the law. Plaintiff has to prove defendant lied. Plaintiff has to prove defendant knew it was lying. Plaintiff has to prove that defendant lied, knew it had lied, and did so for the express purpose of damaging plaintiff.

And, oh, by the way, if defendant acknowledges it made a mistake, immediately apologizes for the mistake and issues both a retraction and correction, there’s nothing to talk about here except, “What’s for lunch?”

That’s the way it works under the law.

There are now going to be some folks, including some folks who wear black robes, who want to change the law.

That would be a mistake, in my estimation, and yet another threat to our democracy.

Now, we can have a conversation (and we will, right here on this blog) about whether a distinction should be made between “public officials” and “public figures.”

Coming soon.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.